You’ve probably heard of 19-year-old Kyle Maynard, a congenital amputee who became a champion wrestler. He’s been featured on ABC’s 20/20, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Larry King Live. The part of Kyle’s story that struck me most is this:
…his grandmother refused to let other people look away from him.
“She brought me to a lot of grocery stores and she’d set me down in the cart. She told me, ‘You don’t have to be afraid of people. Look them straight in the eye and let them know that you see yourself as normal, and that’s the way that they should perceive you, too.’ “
To me, this grandmother was right on track. Children with a turned eye need to be helped in this way also. Getting help in the form of vision therapy and/or surgery is important. But they also need to be told from the beginning that they are as normal as everyone else. They need to be taught that everyone has some things about them that are different. Since we are all different, how can anyone be “normal?” What is “normal?” The best definition I can come up with is this: “Normal is being different.”
Sometimes parents tend to make helping a child with a handicap or disfiguring difference the major focus of their own life. They measure everything by how it might affect the child. Yet authorities say that we should not make accomodations for these children, or treat them differently, unless it is absolutely necessary for them. They need to learn, as much as possible, to adapt to the world around them rather than to expect the world to adapt to them.
Every child is different. That is what makes them special. The goal is not to be “normal.” If we are different, we are already “normal.” The goal is to neither empahasize nor hide our differences. The goal is to be who we are, and to celebrate the differences God gave us by using them to the best of our ability.
Kyle Maynard’s new book, below, is definitely on my “reading list” for when I am able to read again!
Read “No Excuses,” by Kyle Maynard, The True Story of a Congenital Amputee Who Became a Champion in Wrestling and in Life.
From the inside flap:
NO EXCUSES is the inspiring story of Kyle’s battle against the odds. You’ll learn about the family who supported him, the coach who trained him, and the faith that strengthened him to face the toughest fights.
BONUS included with the book:
- Kyle’s very own diet and exercise regimen, which helped him compete at the highest levels
- Thirteen ways to live a No Excuses life